Disaster Risk Reduction

Disaster risk reduction (DRR) aims to reduce the impact of natural hazards such as earthquakes, tsunami, cyclones or floods. DRR is about being proactive rather than reactive. The root causes of disaster risk are part of everyday lives and disasters tend to disproportionately affect developing countries. Because of this, DRR and development are significantly entwined. Some factors that influence disaster risk include population density, poor land-use, institutional plans and policies e.g. communication and early warning systems, public education and awareness of the hazard, construction styles/ building codes, level of peace and security and degree of poverty. DRR involves every part of society; national and local government, businesses and organisations, communities and individuals.

Frameworks and Guidelines

General Resources

DRR and CCA Resources

Frameworks and Guidelines
Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030

In a meeting held 14 -18 March in Sendai Japan, 187 UN member States adopted the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reducation, which follows on from the Hyogo Framework for Action (2005 -2015).

The framework outlines seven global targets to be achieved over the next 15 years: a substantial reduction in global disaster mortality; a substantial reduction in numbers of affected people; a reduction in economic losses in relation to global GDP; substantial reduction in disaster damage to critical infrastructure and disruption of basic services, including health and education facilities; an increase in the number of countries with national and local disaster risk reduction strategies by 2020; enhanced international cooperation; and increased access to multi-hazard early warning systems and disaster risk information and assessments.

Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030

Hyogo Framework for Action

The Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA) is coordinated by the UNISDR (International Strategy for Disaster Reduction). It seeks to plan, explain, describe and detail the work that is required from all different sectors and actors to reduce disaster losses. It was developed and agreed on with the many partners needed to reduce disaster risk – governments, international agencies, disaster experts and many others – bringing them into a common system of coordination. The HFA outlines five priorities for action, and offers guiding principles and practical means for achieving disaster resilience. Its goal is to substantially reduce disaster losses by 2015 by building the resilience of nations and communities to disasters. This means reducing loss of lives and social, economic, and environmental assets when hazards strike.

Hyogo Framework for Action 2005-2015

This paper synthesizes consultations held at the regional, national and community levels throughout the Asia-Pacific region on the Post-2015 Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (the successor of the Hyogo Framework for Action or HFA2). The document is particularly targeted at countries and stakeholders from Asia Pacific for their engagement at the global deliberations on HFA2 at the Fourth Session of the Global Platform on Disaster Risk Reduction (4th GPDRR) in May 2013. It also informs all stakeholders and countries engaged in the HFA2 discussions. The paper describes the consultation approach that has been adopted in Asia Pacific and summarizes the key issues and proposals resulting from these consultations. It highlights issues for consideration in the next phase of consultations for HFA2 post the 4th GPDRR.

General Resources
Disaster Risk Reduction and Recovery Factsheet

This UNDP produced factsheet provides an easy introduction on DRR and the role of the UNDP. More than 90 percent of disaster fatalities occur in developing countries. It is the poor who live in the most vulnerable and least prepared countries, who suffer most when catastrophe occurs.

UNDP Fast Facts: Disaster Risk Reduction and Recovery

Disaster Risk Management in East Asia and the Pacific

This report offers a comprehensive guide for decision makers around disaster risk management in East Asia and the Pacific. This region is the most disaster-stricken region in the world, with multiple challenges to building resilience. As rapid urbanization continues, one of the main drivers of risk is poorly planned cities, which puts more people and assets in harm’s way. In relative terms, the small Pacific island countries are among the most affected in the world.

A Strategic Policy Guide for Disaster Risk Management in East Asia and the Pacific

DRR and CCA
Building Resilience: Integrating Climate and Disaster Risk into Development

This report presents the World Bank’s experience in climate and disaster resilient development, and contends that such development is essential to eliminating extreme poverty and achieving shared prosperity by 2030. The report suggests that the international community should lead by example by further promoting approaches that progressively link climate and disaster resilience to broader development paths,and funding them appropriately.

Building Resilience: Integrating Climate and Disaster Risk into Development

Toward Resilience: A Guide to DRR and CCA

This guide provides essential introductory information, principals of effective practice, guidelines for action in a range of sectors and settings, case studies and links to useful tools and resources, for the application of an integrated, rights-based approach to disaster reduction and climate change adaptation.

Toward Resilience: A Guide to Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation

Standards

Introduction:

Numerous humanitarian agencies have worked collaboratively over the past decade in an attempt to improve the quality of humanitarian assistance and the accountability of humanitarian actors to their constituents, donors and affected populations in disaster risk reduction, relief and management. This section provides information on these generally accepted international standards.

Active Learning Network for Accountability and Performance in Humanitarian Action (ALNAP): ALNAP works to improve humanitarian performance through accountability and learning. It collects many resources such as a database of evaluation reports.

Code of Conduct: The Code of Conduct for The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and NGOs in Disaster Relief lays down ten points of principle which all humanitarian actors should adhere to in their disaster response work, and goes on to describe the relationships that agencies working in disasters should seek with donor governments, host governments and the UN system.

Core Humanitarian Standards: Previously the Joint Standards Initiative. Since the creation of international standards from the 1990s onwards, there are at least seventy initiatives in existence in the humanitarian sector. Field workers and others have experienced a challenge in combining and implementing the number of standards in an efficient, complementary, and effective way. In response to the perceived confusion, lack of awareness and inconsistent application of standards, three of the leading standards initiatives (Humanitarian Accountability Partnership (HAP), People In Aid and the Sphere Project) have launched a process to seek greater coherence for users of standards, in order to ultimately improve humanitarian action to people affected by disasters. The result of the JSI process was the commitment of HAP and People In Aid and the Sphere Project to develop a Core Humanitarian Standard on Quality and Accountability.

Launched in December 2014, the Core Humanitarian Standards on Quality and Accountability (CHS) sets out nine commitments that organisations and individuals involved in humanitarian response can use to improve the quality and effectiveness of the assistance they provide. It also facilitates greater accountability to communities and people affected by crisis: knowing what humanitarian organisations have committed to will enable them to hold those organisations to account.

Do No Harm: The Do No Harm Project seeks to identify ways that humanitarian and/or development assistance can be given without worsening conflict. The DNH concepts are widely used in the humanitarian and development communities and the project has developed one of the best known tools for Peace and Conflict Impact Analysis: the Do No Harm Framework for Analyzing the Impacts of Assistance on Conflict.

Good Humanitarian Donorship: In 2003 the Government of Sweden convened a meeting to discuss good humanitarian donorship, during which a set of Principles-and-Good-Practice-of-Humanitarian-Donorship was agreed. The 23 Principles and Good Practice defined by the group provide both a framework to guide official humanitarian aid and a mechanism for encouraging greater donor accountability.

Humanitarian Accountability Partnership: The Humanitarian Accountability Partnership (HAP) uses seven Principles of Accountability to help make humanitarian action more accountable to it’s intended beneficiaries through self-regulation, compliance verification and quality assurance certification.

International Humanitarian Law: IHL is a set of rules which seek, for humanitarian reasons, to limit the effects of armed conflict. It protects persons who are not or are no longer participating in the hostilities and restricts the means and methods of warfare.

International Disaster Response Law: After years of intensive research and consultation on problems and best practice in the regulation of international disaster relief, the IFRC spearheaded negotiations to develop a new set of international guidelines to help governments strengthen their domestic laws and policies. Using the Guidelines, governments can avoid needless delays in the dissemination of humanitarian relief while at the same time ensuring better coordination and quality of the assistance provided.

Needs Assessment: There is increasing awareness of the need to coordinate the response to humanitarian crises. One outcome of this awareness is the production of guidelines on coordinating the assessment of priorities in humanitarian crises by the Needs Assessment Task Force (NATF) of the Inter-Agency Standing Committee. Another organisation which is dedicated to improving the quality and relevance of needs assessments is ACAPS.

People in Aid:The People in Aid Code of Good Practice was designed through collaboration with a wide range of NGOs as a management framework to improve standards, accountability and transparency of human resources management in the Humanitarian Sector amid the challenges of disaster, conflict and poverty.

Sphere Project: The Sphere Project is an initiative to define and uphold the standards by which the global community responds to the plight of people affected by disasters, principally through a set of guidelines that are set out in the Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response (commonly referred to as the Sphere Handbook).

Key Issues

Ifo extension camp at Dadaab designed to deal with the fresh influx of refugees from Somalia. Photograph: B. Bannon/UNHCR

In this section we provide an introduction to key issues within the humanitarian sphere, outlining NDRF’s role in these areas, share best practices and highlight some innovative policies and ideas. Each section includes a resource list with relevant reports, guidelines, tools and useful links, as well as the latest news.

While many topics, themes and ideas surrounding humanitarian work and disaster prevention are interrelated, we have divided them into five key sections to make content more manageable and easier to access.

These are:

Standards: The standards section draws together material from NGOs and humanitarian agencies who are working towards creating indicators and tools which are geared towards ensuring all stakeholders are acting in an accountable and transparent manner through agreed standards and frameworks.

Disaster Risk Reduction: This section looks at the steps and measures that stakeholders take in reducing risks in preparation for disasters. The section has been split into local and global initiatives and looks at both structural and non-structural best practices.

Humanitarian Assistance and Response: When disasters happen, environments become swarmed with humanitarian actors, governments, militaries, police and other stakeholders all attempting to alleviate human suffering. This section looks at the numerous actors involved in humanitarian response efforts and outlines current literature on best practices for those groups.

Civil-Military Interaction: This section looks at the necessary but often difficult relationship between humanitarian agencies and militaries during humanitarian response.

Pacific Relief: While the other sections all contain material that is relevant to the Pacific, given the focus of NDRF and its members, this section contains material that is aimed towards the Pacific region specifically, including reports, outcome documents, and current projects in the area.

While the material in these sections is constantly expanding and being refined, if you have any feedback on the content of these pages we would love to hear from you. Please email melanie@cid.org.nz to make your views heard.

Resources:
GDACS Alert The Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System provides near real-time alerts about natural disasters around the world and tools to facilitate response coordination, including media monitoring, map catalogues and Virtual On-Site Operations Coordination Centre.

Global Humanitarian Assistance: Resource The Global Humanitarian Assistance team comprises researchers, analysts and policy advisors with practical field experience and backgrounds in development financing and reporting. Covering Global Trends; Governments; Delivery; Financing Mechanisms; Domestic Response; Conflict and the Military; and Scale of Needs.

Humanitarian Early Warning Service: Alert The IASC Humanitarian Early Warning Service (HEWSweb) is an inter-agency partnership project aimed at establishing a common platform for humanitarian early warnings and forecasts for natural hazards.

Humanitarian Practice Network:News, Resource HPN is an independent forum for policy-makers, practitioners and others working in or on the humanitarian sector to share and disseminate information, analysis and experience, and to learn from it. HPN plays a key role in examining policy developments and distilling practice.

Pacific Disaster Net: Alert, Event, News, Resource The Virtual Centre for Disaster Risk Management in the Pacific Region. The Web Portal and Database System is designed to be the largest and most comprehensive information resource for Disaster Risk Management for the Pacific Island Countries.

Prevention Web: News, Resource PreventionWeb serves the information needs of the disaster risk reduction community, including the development of information exchange tools to facilitate collaboration.

ReliefWeb: News, Policy, Resource ReliefWeb is your source for timely, reliable and relevant humanitarian information and analysis.

UNOCHA: News, Policy, Resource OCHA is the part of the United Nations Secretariat responsible for bringing together humanitarian actors to ensure a coherent response to emergencies. OCHA’s mission is to: mobilise and coordinate effective and principled humanitarian action in partnership with national and international actors in order to alleviate human suffering in disasters and emergencies; advocate the rights of people in need; promote preparedness and prevention; facilitate sustainable solutions.

Russia extends ‘humanitarian pause’ in Aleppo attack


Russia announced it will broadcast live images of the evacuation of civilians and wounded people from besieged eastern Aleppo during a “humanitarian pause” it has scheduled for Thursday.

The planned pause would also be extended for an additional three hours to run from 0500 to 1600 GMT, General Sergey Rudskoi of the Russian General Staff said in a statement carried by the official Itar-Tass news agency on Wednesday.

The extension is intended to give UN and Red Crescent representatives enough time to evacuate sick and wounded people and civilians from the rebel-held enclave, Rudskoi said.

Activists and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based monitoring group, have said few civilians made use of humanitarian corridors from eastern Aleppo previously announced by Russia.

The Syrian Foreign Ministry, meanwhile, said troops had pulled back from two designated humanitarian corridors to facilitate the transport of rebel fighters from eastern Aleppo to areas of their choice, Syrian state news agency SANA reported.

Rebels have said they will not leave eastern Aleppo, the last remaining major urban centre controlled by opposition forces.

The UN has said security fears, the fear of arrest, and the presence of Syrian troops at the corridors designated by Russia have prevented civilians from using them to leave the enclave.

Some 275,000 people are thought to be trapped in eastern Aleppo, with minimal access to food and medical care after hospitals have been repeatedly hit in air strikes, apparently by Russian or Syrian forces.

Youssef al-Youssef, of the rebel group Noureddine al-Zinki described the new Russian announcement as “mere propaganda”.

“This is not a truce. Eight hours to evacuate Aleppo is a request for surrender. This is totally rejected,” said Zakaria Malhafji, a spokesman for the rebel group Fistaqim.

“We will not leave the city. We want a total truce and the entry of aid,” he told dpa news agency.

The Syrian regime and its Russian allies on Wednesday suspended air strikes on rebel areas in the divided city of Aleppo for the second successive day ahead of Thursday’s planned humanitarian pause.

Aleppo has been the target of an intense campaign by the forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Russia since a US-Russian brokered ceasefire in the country fell apart on September 19.

Activists inside eastern Aleppo said government planes had dropped leaflets calling on fighters to leave “because they have no other choice”.

Meanwhile, an unnamed diplomatic source told Reuters news agency that Russian warships were headed to Syria in the largest military deployment since the end of the Cold War.

The fleet passed the Norwegian city of Bergen on Wednesday, the diplomat said, while Russian media has said it will move through the English Channel, past Gibraltar, and into the Mediterranean Sea to the Syrian coast.

“They are deploying all of the northern fleet and much of the Baltic fleet in the largest surface deployment since the end of the Cold War,” the diplomat said on condition of anonymity.

“This is not a friendly port call. In two weeks, we will see a crescendo of air attacks on Aleppo as part of Russia’s strategy to declare victory there,” the diplomat said.

Russia has said the deployment will target Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant fighters in Syria.

But the NATO diplomat said the additional military firepower was designed to drive out or destroy the 8,000 rebels in Aleppo, the only large city still in opposition hands, and allow Russian President Vladimir Putin to start a withdrawal.

“With this assault, it should be enough to allow a Russian exit strategy if Moscow believes Assad is now stable enough to survive,” the diplomat said.

The fleet off Norway includes Russia’s only aircraft carrier, the Admiral Kuznetsov, which is carrying jet fighters, and the Soviet-era nuclear-powered battle cruiser Pyotr Velikiy, or Peter the Great.

Aljazeera

Posted 6 months ago by NDRF sourced from Aljazeera

Iraq: Growing concerns for the people of Mosul


Since February 2016, humanitarian partners have been planning for the potential impact of military operations in Mosul. An estimated 1.2 million to 1.5 million people could be affected. Civilians in Mosul could face multiple threats from cross-fire, sniper attacks, booby traps and explosive remnants of war. Responders fear that tens of thousands of Iraqi girls, boys, women and men may be forcibly expelled, trapped between conflict lines, held under siege or used as human shields.

Yesterday, UN Humanitarian Chief Stephen O’Brien called on all parties to the conflict “to uphold their obligations under international humanitarian law to protect civilians and ensure they have access to the assistance they are entitled to and deserve.”

On 8 October, OCHA established a Humanitarian Operations Centre (HOC) in Erbil to convene cluster coordinators, civil-military coordinators and other key humanitarian actors to plan jointly for a cohesive response to anticipated displacement. Based on reports of a high state of readiness among forces along the front lines, the HOC has intensified preparations for the humanitarian consequences expected over the coming weeks.

As of 16 October, 27 camps and emergency sites have been confirmed and identified through the joint planning process to accommodate displaced people. A total of 10,014 plots are currently available for 60,084 people. A further 41,744 plots for 250,464 people are planned or under construction. Three camps to the south and south-west of Mosul have been identified as priority sites for the first waves of displacement. More plots are becoming available on a daily basis through coordination efforts, assessments, site visits and construction work. Clusters are working with partners to prepare the delivery of assistance and operate services at camps and emergency sites. The logistics cluster is mobilizing common storage for stocks.

Supplies of food, health items, medicines, shelter kits and WASH assistance are being moved into storage sites and distribution points. Assistance ready to distribute includes 59,800 tents; three-day ready-to-eat food rations for 220,000 families; 42,100 sets of emergency household items; 35,000 winterization kits; 240 tons of medicines; and 42,500 family-hygiene kits. Many more forms of assistance are ready to be dispatched and further stocks are in the pipeline.

The protection cluster has 66 mobile teams ready to provide assistance, including 28 for child protection, 26 for gender-based violence and 12 for general protection. In the first days of the response, the Iraq Displacement Tracking Matrix will provide key information on displacement patterns, and humanitarian partners are preparing to conduct rapid needs assessments at camps and emergency sites.

Key Facts:

Plans are being continuously revised and updated as new information on the parameters of the military operation becomes available.
Clusters have prepared pragmatic strategies and are procuring and pre-positioning supplies based on these.
As of 16 October, space is available to accommodate 60,000 displaced people in seven sites, including camps and emergency locations.
250,000 additional spaces are under construction or planned.
UN News Centre

Posted 6 months ago by NDRF sourced from UN News Centre

In post-Ebola Sierra Leone, more than half the population face food shortages – U.N.


As Sierra Leone recovers from the deadly effects of Ebola, more than half the population face food shortages, and many will not cope if further disasters such as drought or floods strike, U.N. food agencies said on Thursday.

Food shortages in most of the West African are caused by problems that predate the Ebola outbreak, the World Food Programme (WFP) and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said.

Some 3.5 million people do not have enough safe and nutritious food to eat, the agencies said in a report published on Thursday.

Of that number, around 600,000 people face severe food shortages and are not prepared for sudden shocks such as food price increases, floods or droughts.

The report said the number of people “severely” affected by a lack of food has increased by 60 percent since 2010.

The Ebola outbreak – now officially over – worsened food shortages in some districts, notably Kailahun and Kenema, but in most of the country the problem is chronic, the report said.

“The results confirm that drivers of food insecurity are low agricultural productivity, poverty and a lack of resilience,” Nyabenyi Tipo, FAO representative in Sierra Leone, said in a statement.

Poor roads, the difficulties farmers face in reaching markets, gender inequality, and a lack of alternative means of generating an income, also play a part, Tipo added.

Most of the population relies on agriculture for their survival, the report said.

Rice production fell by 15 percent over the last five years, and only about four percent of farmers grow enough rice to meet their needs for the whole year, Tipo said.

On average, 99 percent of agricultural workers use manual tools and only ten percent have access to better seed varieties, the report said.

Ebola killed more than 11,300 people and infected some 28,600 as it swept through Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea from 2013 in the world’s worst outbreak of the disease.

During the epidemic, many farmers were unable to grow or sell their crops because of travel restrictions, border closures and quarantines, as well as fear of infection.

Food production in Sierra Leone’s bread basket and epicentre of the epidemic stalled, and weekly markets ceased trading because there was nothing to sell, according to the World Bank.

The World Health Organization declared Sierra Leone free of the deadly haemorrhagic fever on March 17, Guinea on June 1, and Liberia on June 9.

According to Thursday’s report, the Sierra Leonean districts of Kailahun, Kambia, Port Loko, Pujehun, and Tonkolili have the highest levels of food insecurity.

By identifying vulnerable regions, agencies hope to improve food production and people’s access to food, and help communities become more resilient to future crises, the WFP said.

Thomson Reuters Foundation

Posted 5 months ago by NDRF sourced from Thomson Reuters Foundation

Don’t count on technology to save you in a disaster – researchers


Newfound enthusiasm for the latest technologies, such as drones and smartphones, to improve the way aid is provided to people in disasters may be overblown, experts warned on Thursday.

The annual World Risk Report from the United Nations University (UNU) highlights the growing interest in new technologies to improve emergency response – from drones that can survey crisis-hit areas to social media networks that allow survivors to communicate with the wider world.

These can provide important information to the logisticians who organise aid delivery or health workers trying to track deadly diseases like Ebola in no-go areas, the report said.

But Matthias Garschagen, a risk management expert with the UNU Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS), said it could not substitute for the basic infrastructure some countries have lacked for decades.

“Too many people see technology as the main panacea for solving all the problems you have after disasters strike,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. “A lot of development experts put too much emphasis on technology.”

In Africa, for example, there are just 65 kilometres (40 miles) of paved road per 100,000 inhabitants, compared to 832 km in Europe or 552 km in the Americas.

In heavy rain, dirt roads soon become impassable, which hampers the delivery of aid, the report said.

“No smartphones in the world are going to significantly change this state of affairs,” Garschagen said in the report produced with the University of Stuttgart and Bündnis Entwicklung Hilft, an alliance of German aid agencies.

After the Nepal earthquakes last year, aid agencies used drones to find out the extent of damage, but their uncontrolled flying was a headache for the government, which introduced restrictions.

And in many cases, helicopters were not available to bring in aid to meet the needs identified by aerial surveillance.

Drones themselves cannot be expected to carry out aid deliveries any time soon, because they cannot carry big enough loads and their use is subject to so many rules, said Kathrin Mohr, who heads Deutsche Post DHL Group’s “GoHelp” team.

“Some suggest that drones could even carry medicine supplies to remote villages. I think this is complete nonsense,” she said in the report.

“Just realise what one of these drones can carry: Not more than one to three kilogrammes. This really is an extremely limited amount.”

Garschagen said sound infrastructure – from transport to telecoms and power networks – must be built with disaster risks in mind and properly maintained.

An early warning system, installed in Indonesia after the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, malfunctioned in October 2010 when a 3-metre (10 ft) wave crashed into the remote Mentawai islands, taking residents by surprise and killing several hundred people.

“Too often we think infrastructure means building a nice road, a nice bridge or a tsunami early warning system,” Garschagen said.

“But we don’t pay sufficient attention to the humans and institutions that need to be trained, educated and built around the technology in order to maintain or run it properly.”

Planners and builders of infrastructure – whether companies, governments or development banks – should also consider the risks from climate change, such as worsening floods, he added.

That is particularly so in Southeast Asia and Africa, where much essential infrastructure is not yet in place, he said.

But pressure from investors in growing cities like Lagos or Ho Chi Minh City can make it difficult to think long term, raising the risk of buildings or transport being located in disaster-prone areas.

An index ranking the risk of disasters for 171 countries, contained in the report, shows the world’s hot-spots lie in the Pacific Ocean, Southeast Asia, Central America and Africa’s southern Sahel region.

Thomson Reuters Foundation

Posted 5 months ago by NDRF sourced from Thomson Reuters Foundation

Preparedness saves thousands of lives as Super Typhoon Haima sweeps across Northern Philippines

Preparedness saves thousands of lives as Super Typhoon Haima sweeps across Northern Philippines
One week after Typhoon Haima left a trail of destruction in Northern Philippines, details of the extensive damage to homes and livelihoods are starting to emerge from provinces that were previously inaccessible due to obstructed roads and flooding.

Assessments conducted by Philippine Red Cross volunteers and staff indicate that shelter and livelihoods recovery remain the most immediate needs for communities in Northern Luzon.

“During the day, all you’ll hear is the sound of chainsaws. In the evening, the sound of generators,” says Robert Guinaban, a 46-year-old Philippine Red Cross volunteer in the province of Kalinga.

While local markets in the city of Tuguegarao and the neighbouring provinces of Kalinga and Apayao have opened their marketplaces and trading centres once more, establishment owners can be seen lining up to buy gasoline-powered generators as transmission and power lines continue to be down.

One day after Super Typhoon Haima made landfall in Northern Philippines, Aileen Torres, the Philippine Red Cross Cagayan chapter administrator, found it difficult to sleep. She was worried about her family and her Red Cross colleagues. After the chapter’s experience with typhoon Megi in 2010, they didn’t want to take any chances.

“We simply couldn’t sleep,” Aileen recalls. “This chapter building is quite old, so I was quite worried it might not survive the ordeal. The winds roared so loud and you could almost feel the building shake.”

The wind and rain started picking up strength at 10:00pm, an hour before the typhoon made landfall over the province.

“I’m thankful because the chapter is sandwiched between taller buildings so the impact of the winds was not as destructive as we had thought it would be,” Aileen adds.

“But what I am most thankful for is that the number of casualties is minimal. I think what happened during Typhoon Haiyan was a big lesson for everyone.”

Earlier in the week, the Red Cross mobilized a humanitarian caravan loaded with emergency relief supplies and other equipment to the provinces of Isabela and Cagayan to aid affected families. To date, the Red Cross chapters in the typhoon-hit provinces have assisted around 8,800 people with various activities including search and rescue, hot meals, the distribution of relief items and psychosocial support.

The government pre-emptively evacuated more than 158,000 people before Haima struck the province, yet it is estimated that over 92,000 people remain in 640 evacuation centres.

In the municipality of Rizal, the main access to the town has been blocked off by a landslide that will take several days to clear. Pre-emptive evacuation the day before the typhoon hit has also saved many lives in the municipality.

“Our municipality has been affected by several typhoons in the past decade, so we knew what to expect,” says Rizal’s Vice-Mayor, Joel Ruma.

Haima is the third typhoon to hit Northern Philippines in just a span of three weeks after typhoon Meranti (Ferdie) and typhoon Sarika (Karen). While the full extent of the damage is still emerging, many residents are struggling to rebuild their lives and to repair their homes.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies has launched an emergency appeal for 3 million Swiss francs (3 million US dollars) to support the Philippine Red Cross in delivering assistance to 20,000 people affected by Typhoon Haima over a period of ten months.

ReliefWeb

Posted 5 months ago by NDRF sourced from ReliefWeb

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The Non Government Organisation (NGO) Disaster Relief Forum (NDRF) is an open forum for New Zealand-based NGOs that have an interest and involvement in humanitarian response and emergency management issues. Find out more.

Please remember that it is better to donate cash rather than send goods to disaster affected communities.Why? Find out more.

More information on current emergencies can be found here.

Rachel Smalley: Duff talking guff – Aleppo is our problem
You may have read Alan Duff’s column. He penned it for the New Zealand Herald.

He’s frustrated, it seems, with the way the mainstream media covers the Syrian crisis. Duff believes we’re being emotionally manipulated, particularly by television news, because we’re being shown images of dead or distressed children caught in the midst of the conflict.

In essence Duff says Aleppo is not our problem. Leave it to the Middle East to sort out, he says. It’s not our issue.

He points to that emotive image of the Syrian toddler whose body was found washed up on a beach last year and says the media was trying to pull at our heart strings by showing that image in Greece. Although it wasn’t in Greece. It was Turkey. But either or, I guess. It’s the other side of the world. Not our problem, as he says.

But Duff’s flippancy to the killing in Syria is not unusual. I’ve met quite a few Alan Duffs while reporting on the Syrian crisis.

Some attempt to find reasons or justifications not to help. It’s easier that way, isn’t it, then just saying no? It’s tidier. Emotionally tidier. It means our money stays in our pockets and we don’t open ourselves up emotionally to the suffering of others. God forbid. Move on, there’s nothing to see here.

I remember a Facebook comment posted last year on a story I’d written about a young Syrian mother. I’d met her on the Lebanese border and her situation was, well, wretched. She had a toddler and a newborn, and no money. It was winter and her tent was freezing. Her milk was drying up, and she was suffering complications from the birth. Possibly an infection. And she was in the darkest of places.

She’d lost everything in Damascus, her home, her income, her future, and she was trying to manage two children in winter in a tent, with severe post-natal depression. After I posted that story on Facebook, a New Zealand woman commented and she said “I would happily give money to this cause but 99.9% of it goes on salaries, and none of it reaches the refugees.”

I don’t know who she was, but I do remember her profile picture. She was competing in some equestrian competition somewhere, and riding a rather well-bred and expensive looking horse.

Yes, she was ignorant. But it’s more than that. She was also looking for a reason to disengage. She was looking for a reason not to care, just like Duff. It’s just that Duff says the media’s overplaying the situation, and pulling at people’s heart-strings. That’s his reasoning to look the other way. “Aleppo,” he says “is simply not our concern”.

But on that basis, then Rwanda was none of our business, either.

Nor was the Ethiopian famine in the 1980s.

Or the Holocaust.

Let’s overlook the killing of people because of their race or religion because it’s nothing to do with us. Let us enjoy Pure New Zealand and our geographical isolation and our geopolitical ignorance.

Well, I don’t want to live in Duff’s world where we shrug our shoulders at the destruction of a state and the killing of its people.

That’s not the New Zealand that I grew up in.

Aleppo, challenging as it may be, is our problem. It’s the world’s problem.